From Drew Greenblatt’s latest column on Inc.com on why safety and sustainability go hand in hand as important objectives for business — with help from the American Society of Safety Engineers. Thanks, ASSE:
I recently Googled the word “sustainability” and these are the headlines I found: “Global Environmental Change and Sustainability,” “5 Traits Essential for Sustainability Leadership,” and “Top 10 Cities Leading in Urban Sustainability.”
Then I Googled the word “safety” for the same period and a dominant story was “Pittsburgh Steelers Score in 3 Seconds on Titans Opening-Kickoff Safety.”
Safety — that is, preventing injury or worse — isn’t the hip, eco-friendly topic that sustainability has become in recent years. But in workplaces like ours sustainability and safety are both essential and in fact go together: Sustainable practices seek to avoid waste, and the risk of injury is greater in places where mess and waste fester.
Many companies have gotten religion on sustainability. They realize it’s good for their mission, their operation, and of course their public image. Safety might seem an objective less easy to rally around. But I think smart companies grasp its importance and go above and beyond what is required.
David Coble, who runs a safety consultancy in North Carolina and chairs the Manufacturing Practice Specialty Group of the American Society of Safety Engineers, points out that safety and sustainability have gone hand in hand for a long time. The general industry standards of OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he notes, include dozens of references to “housekeeping.” And they were written in 1910, long before the concept of sustainability had the cachet it does now. Continue reading